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5 March 2010

Commons Confidential

Boy 'Band and his groupies.

By Kevin Maguire

Big brother must be green with envy at Miliband Jr’s popularity. Ed, the Climate Secretary, is now so hot that fans give him the full pop-star treatment. My snout heard a Milibandite screech, “Ed, I love you — sign my shoe,” at a recent London gathering. Ed seemed startled, but scribbled on the proffered boot. A Westminster cynic whispered that while Foreign Secretary David has the ambition to lead Labour but few supporters, Ed has the followers but little ambition. Ed’s screaming admirer, incidentally, was male.

To Brighton in the pouring rain for David Cameron’s party act. Heavy make-up gave the Tory leader an unhealthy grey pallor. Or perhaps it was the Sunday Times poll released that morning. Looking similarly off-colour was the Tory worker from whom Eric Pickles borrowed £10 for a taxi. Pickles hails from Yorkshire, where folk are careful with their brass. The aide’s expression suggested that he thought it was the last he’d see of that tenner.

The satellite channel Wedding TV has asked Speaker John Bercow if it can film civil partnerships that take place in Westminster. The inaugural ceremony is that of the Europe minister, Chris Bryant, who, though rarely camera-shy, knows from bitter experience that not all publicity is good publicity. Bryant’s mobile number was uncovered in the investigation into the News of the World‘s phone-tapping, when the Tory chief spinner, Andy “I Knew Nothing” Coulson, was editor.

Rumours are sweeping Downing Street that Gordon Brown’s spokesman, Simon Lewis, keeps a diary. If so, one tale unlikely to appear is what I hear Sideshow Simon said when the PM’s plane landed in Belfast for talks to save the Good Friday Agreement. “It’s good,” he said, “to be back in Ireland.” The rest of the entourage was glad that the unionist leader Peter Robinson wasn’t in earshot.

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